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Queen Elizabeth: 'The loss of an anchor is a frightening thing to happen,' author says

Author Jane Green joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the impact of Queen Elizabeth II's death and how Prince William and Kate Middleton have become more significant in the public eye.

Video Transcript

- All right, continuing our coverage now of the breaking and, frankly, heartbreaking news out of the UK-- the death of Queen Elizabeth II at age 96, after seven decades of rule. Pleased to welcome an 18-time "New York Times" bestselling author, Jane Green, who was born in London, spent much of her life there, and recently returned there over the pandemic.

She also wrote the book, "Modern Fairy Tale," about the royal wedding. Her latest book was "Sister Stardust." Jane, it's wonderful to see you. I know this is a sad day for you. How will you remember the Queen?

JANE GREEN: Well, she was just a most remarkable figurehead, and really, the head of everything in Britain. And it just-- it's very shocking. You know, these things, we think we're prepared. We all saw her greeting Liz Truss two days ago.

And you couldn't deny that as wonderful as she looked, there was also something that was diminutive about her stature. And even when you looked at her and recognized she is 96, and her health-- you know, she is frailer than we had ever seen her, it's still a shock when it actually happens. And I think we truly are a nation in mourning-- and a world in mourning, particularly at this time, where it feels that we-- the loss of an anchor such as the Queen is a frightening thing to happen.

- It does still feel surreal to talk about her in the past tense. I know our family had a good cry about it this afternoon. A lot of people wondering about her legacy-- obviously, she had a lot of milestones in her life. But then, you look at some of the reaction also online, talking about colonialism. How would you characterize how her legacy should be viewed?

JANE GREEN: Well, I think that I couldn't speak, really, to that. I think other than to say, you know, I think we are so quick to cancel our history. And yet, I think in order to prevent things from happening again, in order to prevent the terrible things that have happened in our history from happening again, we have to study it, and we have to learn from it, rather than cancel it out.

And so yes, of course, we know today we are living in very different times, that colonialism is not something that we think could ever happen today. There are many other things that we think could not happen today. And I would say, as long as we continue to study the past and learn from those lessons, we can keep moving forward.

But I think, you know, above all else, particularly in more recent times, the Queen was-- she became, really, a symbol of civility and a symbol of strength. And I think that there is a real loss of that, particularly at a time when so many things in life feel very fragile and very frightening.

- And very divisive. And she remained a rock through so much change and divisiveness, and it's astounding to think from our perspective, from Truman to Biden, and yet, she remained, again, steadfast. Can the monarchy and all of its traditions survive her passing?

- I suspect that it will, although there are many skeptics who believe that it won't. But I think that certainly, if we go to Prince William and Kate, they are enormously beloved and have, as we've seen recently, been taking a much greater role in public life.

And I think the public have come to really rely on them, particularly with the loss of Harry and Meghan to America. And I think there is still-- there is still a need for a figurehead. And frankly, when you look at how the country and how the world actually comes together for things like royal weddings, we see the pomp and circumstance, and we see how much we all love it. Whether you're a monarchist or not, it does bring people together in a way that nothing else does.

- And obviously, a lot has been said about how much Queen Elizabeth really modernized the monarchy. With, now, King Charles on the throne, along with Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles, what do you think the future of the monarchy looks like?

JANE GREEN: Well, I think it will be very interesting. I think that we will take some time to adjust to King Charles, King Charles III. And that, I think, perhaps is the strangest thing-- to go from having lived with a queen your entire life, to suddenly have a king.

And I did read somewhere-- I've read actually a couple of places. People have been posting on social media, the Queen is dead. Long live the King. And it just-- it does feel very strange. But Charles will have his-- Charles has always been a divisive character.

So we will see what happens. I prefer to think-- to project slightly in the future to William and Kate, but we will see. We will see Charles is-- you know, he is a diplomat, and he is a very gentle man, and we will see what happens.

- And Jane, I want to end on a positive note. In terms of some of the fondest memories and some of the milestones that the Queen has had, what really stands out to you?

JANE GREEN: Well, I have to say, I'm going to share a personal memory, which is just that I have a younger brother, who is very active in Prince Charles' trust, in one of his trusts. And I was scrolling through Instagram one day, and there on my brother's feed was a picture of him shaking hands with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. That is my own personal favorite memory and the closest that anybody in our family ever got.

But she was just always enormously dignified and completely non-political, and she really did live a life of service. And somebody texted me today and said, gosh, what a sad life. You know, she was never able to break out.

And the thing is, she never knew any different, and she really did devote her life to her country, to her people, and didn't reveal how she felt about anything political. We just never knew. She remained above the fray.